Over the last few weeks, I have been feeling the weight of preaching God's Word to people. Sadly, I think for some, spreading God’s Word is something that they take lightly or for granted; for others, it’s their way to make a living. I hope, however, that the majority do it because they want to participate in revealing the beauty of God to those who hear. Because I have seen the spectrum of how people approach their responsibility, I wanted to make sure that I was not taking it lightly. There is great responsibility that comes with preaching the Word of God.
As I have been preparing for the last month or so, I have felt variations of God's presence in my life - the most significant experiences revolving around my time in prayer, in the Bible, and through a network of friendships that I will rejoice in for all eternity. Yesterday being Christmas, I was reminded of how quickly I forget the reasons why I exist. I was fortunate enough to spend time with my extended family in Chicago for Christmas and I learned a few things through my observations. My cousins are so great with their kids, and their kids truly reflect the love they receive from their parents. As they opened their presents, my cousin-in-law Peter asked why they give gifts on Christmas to which they responded with a rendition of the Gospel that blew me away, something that only a child could do. They said that they give gifts because it reminds them of the gift that they received from God: the perfect sacrifice of His son as a free gift to all those who would accept Him.
This morning, as I was getting prepared to drive to Michigan with my friend Brian, I noticed that he had stones of remembrance placed on his counter. The Israelites would set up alters of remembrance whenever God had done something significant to reveal that He was with them and that He was watching over them. Most significant is the passage in Joshua 4:1-9 when they crossed over into the Promised Land. Twelve stones were gathered from the River Jordan and placed as altars so that future generations would remember what the Lord had done for them.
This triggered in my mind Genesis 5, the genealogy from Adam to Noah. If you look closely, Adam was alive when Methuselah was born. Methuselah was the grandfather of Noah, which means that Methuselah had a first-hand, eyewitness account of the creation of Man and the Fall of Adam. Adam had probably recounted the story thousands of times to whoever would listen, with a painful memory of the Garden of Eden and how His relationship with God was uninhibited prior to his sin. And only two generations after Methuselah, it is mentioned that the entire world became wicked except for Noah. In other words, the entire world had already forgotten God the day after Christmas.
I sat there thinking about how God had mercy on Noah, and it felt like the entire world went quiet. In the background, “God with Us” by Mercy Me was playing with the lyrics, "Such a tiny offering compared to Calvary; nevertheless, we lay it at Your feet."
As I pondered the mercy displayed to Noah, the fact that I am so quick to forget the goodness and faithfulness of God and that He paid a sacrifice for me that even if I gave up my entire life, it would be but a tiny sacrifice compared to what He did for me; I was exposed to His great love. I asked Brian to pray with me before we headed out, and upon uttering the words, "I thank you God for your love. I am overwhelmed by what you did," the tears poured out with a sense of relief and gratitude because I can call God my Father, my King, my Friend, and my Savior.